Banana Bread Recipe

I make this banana bread about twice a month. Both my picky eater boys love this recipe! It’s a safe food for both of them and I’ve added some healthier ingredients like whole wheat flour, flax seed and oatmeal to the mix.

I make mini muffins, but the recipe can be easily adapted for loaves of banana bread. However, my kids ONLY eat the mini muffin versions.

 

It does make a pretty loaf though:

TIP: Freeze your over-ripe bananas in a freezer bag and add to it until you have enough to make banana bread. Takes about 4-5 good sized bananas.

BANANA BREAD MUFFINS

By Scout Semmes

Onethousandwordstohome.com

INGREDIENTS:

1 ¼ CUPS SUGAR

½ CUP BUTTER – softened to room temperature

2 EGGS

1 ½ CUPS MASHED BANANAS – overripe are best

1 ½ CUPS MILK

1 TEASPOON VANILLA

3/4 CUP OF VEGETABLE OIL

1 ½ CUPS ALL PURPOSE FLOUR

1/2 CUP WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR

½ CUP PLAIN QUICK OATMEAL

1 TEASPOON BAKING SODA

1 TEASPOON SALT

OPTIONAL INGREDIENTS:

⅓ cup Flax Seeds

2 TBLS Brewer’s Yeast

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat oven 350 degrees. Grease bottoms of muffin and/or loaf pans (or use baking cups for muffins)
  2. Mash bananas in a medium bowl with a potato masher or your electric mixer.
  3. In a separate large bowl, mix sugar and butter with a spoon until well incorporated and smooth. Or use your electric mixer.
  4. Add eggs to butter and sugar. Mix until eggs are well blended to create a creamy texture.
  5. Add bananas, milk, oil and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  6. Stir in flour, oatmeal, baking soda and salt. (add optional ingredients if desired at this point) Mixture will have a “batter-like” consistency.

Divide batter evenly among greased pans and/or muffin cups. Fill greased pans with batter: ¾ full for loaf pan and ¾ full for muffin cups.

Bake 45 minutes – one hour for loaf, 25 minutes for muffins, and 19-22 mins for mini muffins or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 5 mins. Remove carefully from pans to cooling rack.

Makes about 2 loaves OR about 5 dozen mini muffins

To freeze muffins:

Wait until completely cool. Remove muffins from cupcake pans to a sheet tray. Place muffins on sheet tray without allowing them to touch. If you need more room put aluminum foil on top of the first layer and put the rest on top of the aluminum foil. Freeze for 30 minutes or until flash frozen. Remove to marked freezer bag and seal for up to two months.

To freeze loaves:

Wait until completely cool. Wrap in plastic wrap. Place in marked freezer bag and seal for up to two months.

To defrost mini muffins:

Remove 3 muffins from bag and put on a microwave safe plate. Microwave for 10 seconds. Let stand if too hot.

Or

Defrost in refrigerator until soft

Download the recipe PDF here:

Banana Bread Muffins

Five Easy Recipes Reviewed: January 2017, Week Four

I made a few meals this week. Most were tried and true deliciousness!

I also tried a new recipe this week! I purchased a few cookbooks from NewLeafWellness and I’m trying out recipes.

(I’ve included the links in case you’re interested.)

Recipe Reviews from January,Week 4:

From NewLeafWellness:

Singaporean Chicken Rice Stew (PAID) Rating: B+

Make Ahead Freezer Chicken Fajitas (FREE) Rating: A

Modified from AmandatheVirtuousWife:

Chicken Enchiladas Freezer Meal (FREE) Rating: A

My Recipes!:

Banana Bread  – WHOLE WHEAT BANANA BREADINGREDIENTS2017 (DOWNLOAD FOR FREE here) A+

Tuna Casserole – TUNA CASSEROLE 2017 (download free) A+

Singaporean Chicken Rice Stew (Rating B+)

I loved this. However, my husband did not like the ginger in it. LOL.

My 11-month-old also LOVED this and ate most of mine when I fixed a bowl. Surprisingly, it makes a wonderful first food as the chicken and carrots cook down very soft.

The recipe has some Asian flavoring including soy sauce and sesame oil which I enjoyed. The recipe is super easy and I already had everything in my pantry. I used brown rice too, so healthy.

Make Ahead Freezer Chicken Fajitas (Rating A)

I had a leftover bell pepper so I did a half-recipe for this. I wanted to use up my bell pepper. I had everything else to make up this freezer meal. I left out the chicken because we buy in bulk and freeze in serving sized portions. I just take out a little bag of pre-frozen chicken with this meal and that makes it!

I used left-over bell pepper:

My husband likes this dish. Not so much as some of my other meals, but it’s good enough to get an A rating.

Chicken Enchiladas (Rating A+)

I’ve modified the original recipe to our taste. that’s why I’ve give it such a high rating!

I made a pan…

and I froze a pan…

I’m not a strong cook and depend heavily on recipes. And with two small kids underfoot, I don’t have much time to devote to following anything complex. That’s why I totally love freezer crockpot meals! This one however, goes in your oven. It’s almost easier. Because I don’t really have to defrost it. I can take it from the freezer and put it straight into the oven.

Do not put a cold dish in your hot oven!

NOTE: I line the casserole dish all the way with tinfoil. Top and bottom. Then put it in the freezer. After the dish is frozen I remove it from the casserole dish and transfer the food (still with the tin foil) to a plastic freezer bag, label, and return to the freezer. That way I can safely remove my casserole dish from the freezer!

It’s simple to place your food back in a casserole dish when you want to cook it. Simply stick it back in the casserole dish and either bake or defrost as needed.

Alterations to Amandathevirtuouswife’s recipe:

  • corn tortillas instead of flour
  • chicken for the ground beef
  • omitted the refried beans and tomatoes/chilies (husband doesn’t care for them)
  • I used a large (cheap) tub of taco seasoning to taste instead of packets
  • no sour cream

Overall, this is an easy and ingredient-flexible recipe. I would recommend this to anyone who is thinking of getting started with freezer cooking!

Whole Wheat Banana Bread (Rating A+)

I’ve toyed with this recipe for years to make it my son’s favorite breakfast food! I always use my muffin paper cups and mini-muffin pan. He will ONLY eat the mini-muffins. I love this recipe, so I thought I’d share it here for you guys.

WHOLE WHEAT BANANA BREADINGREDIENTS2017

Tuna Casserole (Rating A+)

I love tuna casserole. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods. By the end of this week, I needed some of that.

I had all the ingredients stocked in my pantry, so WIN. I threw this together. Recipe – TUNA CASSEROLE 2017

The End of An Exhausting Week

Last week was long and is stretching into this week. The kids are still sick. Bringing them to the doctor tomorrow.

I spent a little time this evening while my kids were occupied (and finally not crying) getting some neglected cleaning done. My kitchen, living room and dining room are acceptably clean. I’m mostly caught up on laundry.

Writing this while winding down with chocolate and a glass of red wine. Got to gear up for another week of sick kids. Still trying to get over this myself.

 

 

 

 

Meal Prepping Challenge: Week One

EIGHT MEALS: WEEK ONE

One of my goals is to meal prep 8 individual meals per week. This is to make more time for writing by spending less time in the kitchen.
Meal Prepping is going great so far. It’s helping me and my family to eat better without stressing over cooking every night.
  • Prepping Individual Meals
I love prepping Crockpot freezer meals and freezer cooking in general. But lately I’ve also been loving prep for individual healthy meals!
In the videos we watched they had similar meal prep containers, but I got super cheap ones from Kroger. They were $1.99 for 4.

Our meal prep containers:

Prepping individually packaged, from-scratch meals makes it so easy to eat a healthy meal even when pressed for time or when trying to juggle small kids. I can just grab a meal out of the fridge (or even freezer) with very little prep, if any. Also, this works great for making sure my husband has lunches to bring to work that are:

1. Appetizing
2. Healthy
@fitcouplecooks YouTube videos are so easy and so good for individual meals. We’ve done a few and so far: delicious. I’ve made variations on their meals in the last couple weeks:

I’ll confess a little secret. I’ve stepped out of our comfort zone with two ingredients.

  1. Brown rice
  2. Quinoa

I’m embracing new and healthier options! I didn’t even know how to cook it these correctly before this past week.

 Thankfully, @fitcouplecooks provided perfect, delicious instructions for quinoa and brown rice!
  • More @fitcouplecooks goodness…

My husband made their delicious healthy chicken nuggets! This was an A+ winner recipe. I don’t have a pic…because we ate it all!

I’d recommend @fitcouplecooks recipes available on YouTube. They have easy to follow videos and inspired me to build my own meal prep meals!

Here’s a look at what I’ve done this week for my 8 meals!

  • Black bean brown rice burgers – 2 meals (frozen for later)

I made a huge pot of black beans from scratch the other night, so I’ve been trying to find ways to use them.
Note: making beans from scratch is a great way to use your crockpot! Also, making them from scratch is a good way to make beans that don’t have added salt, like you would find in canned beans.
I found a great black bean burger recipe. I’ve made some failed black bean burgers, but this one is even husband-approved! (I omitted the onions.)
  • salad with black beans and quinoa – 4 meals

I added salsa, taco sauce and cheese and heated in the microwave. Delish!

Confession: I did not follow the recipe exactly…
Here are the ingredients I used (“to taste”) for the ground beef:
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Taco Bell mild sauce
Taco seasoning
Salt
(Cooked) Black Beans
And after cooking, I topped with:
salsa
olives
lettuce
We ate this with organic, low-salt corn chips.
The Nachos fed us each dinner plus at least 4 more meals in leftovers!
I’m over my quota for meals this week; which means more time for writing, less time cooking.
Apparently, I don’t have to sacrifice healthy meals to make time for writing. Meal prep for individual meals has bought me time all week!
Do you meal prep, freezer cook or crockpot freezer cook? Let me know how you save time in the kitchen!

How to Save $146 Per Month Making Homemade Pizza

  

 Pictured above: Two batches of homemade bread machine pizza dough. 

Does Making Your Own Pizza Pie Save Money? 

I did a price breakdown to show the value of homemade pizza versus the cost of delivery. 

Cost of Delivery Pizza:

Average cost of 1 pie delivered (+ tip and tax) – $25 

Average Cost of Homemade Pizza Ingredients:

Flour/bag of Great Value All Purpose Flour 25 lbs/$7.98 (buy 1)

Yeast/3 count dry package of pizza yeast/ $1.34 (buy 3)

Olive oil/Great Value Extra Virgin Olive Oil  25.5oz/ $5.74 (buy 1)

Water

Salt/Morton $0.78 (buy 1)

Honey/Great Value Honey 32oz/$7.88 (buy 1)

Pasta or pizza sauce/Great Value Traditional Pasta Sauce 42oz/$2.65 (buy 2)

Pepperoni/Hormel Original Pepperoni 6oz/$2.98 (buy 2)

Shredded cheese/Great Value shredded mozzarella cheese 32oz/$7.94 (buy 2)

Total average cost for all ingredients = $53.54

The bag of flour and ingredients will make roughly 8 pizzas for the price of 2 average delivery pizzas. 

    This one is a life saver for your food budget. If you have pizza dough squirreled away in your freezer, it’s so much less tempting to call out for delivery.

    If you get pizza 2x per week (and this is assuming only one pizza and no sides) delivered you are spending an average of $50 per week. That’s $200 per month! 

    If you make your pizza at home, you are saving $146 per month! I came up with this number by subtracting the cost of ingredients from the cost of delivery. 

    Another advantage to making your pizza at home is planning for healthy sides to add to your meal without ordering even more fast food. 

    You can further reduce the cost of ingredients by stocking up on items when they are on sale. I regularly buy and freeze shredded cheese and pepperoni when I find a great sale. 

    My method:

    There are hundreds of recipes for pizza dough online. I prefer to make mine in my bread machine. I found a great recipe (among other delicious recipes) for pizza dough in this book.  

     I prefer this recipe to any of the recipes I’ve found online for bread machine pizza dough. However, doing an online search might yield better results for you than it did me. If you are interested, you can get the book pictured above on Amazon or at your library. There are lots of great bread recipes in the book besides pizza dough. 

    Ok, I’m sold on making my own dough, you’re thinking. But, what now?

    #1 choose your method

    • Bread machine
    • Mixer
    • By hand
    • Ready made mix

    I make my ready-made homemade pizza dough from scratch in my breadmaker (I use the “dough” setting) but you can use a mixer or make it by hand or even go the super easy route and use a pizza dough mix. 

    #2 choose your recipe 

    • Recipe book
    • Mix
    • Online search 

    Pick through your recipe books at home or make a trip to the library. Experiment until you find one you like. Or experiment with ready made mixes. There are also lots of recipes to be found online. 


    #3 stock up
    !

    • Make large batches
    • Use a rectangle shape

    Make a few batches using your favorite recipe and store in your freezer. I store my pizza dough in rectangular shapes rather than circles. I do this to make the pizzas fit in my cookie sheets and into my square plastic freezer bags. I fit the dough to my aluminum covered cookie sheets and then cut the dough in half. I freeze the dough. When frozen, I remove the dough, cover with plastic wrap, fold in half, and put the dough into plastic freezer bags. 

       
       From this stage pictured above you simply fold the frozen pizza dough in on itself like closing a book and place in a freezer bag. Be sure to mark the date you made it!

    When you are ready for a quick pizza dinner, you can just take the dough directly out of the freezer, unwrap and place on aluminum covered cookie sheet. Bake with your favorite toppings. 

    This blog post is a great tutorial on exactly how to make a pizza using homemade frozen dough. The recipe she uses, by Crystal Paine, is not my favorite recipe but the instructions on freezing and baking are helpful.

    I love having ready made pizza dough in my freezer. I can still have pizza without breaking the bank!

    5 Ways to GET MORE WRITING DONE when you’re too busy

    day 3

    This is me. 6:30am Saturday morning. I love writing. That’s why I’m awake.

    My Writer Stats:

    Wakeup time: 6:30am
    Word count: 3,487
    GOAL: 25K
    Playlist:
    Avicii, Wake Me Up
    Joshua Bell, Beethoven Symphonies No. 4 & 7
    I’m a self-titled Day to Day Prepper. So, what on earth do I mean? What is a Day to Day Prepper?

    A “prepper” to me would be people who are preparing for something. A hurricane, a power outage, the zombie apocalypse….

    See people who are prepping for when SHTF with crazy guns, hunting and stockpiling…Be assured, this is NOT what I’m talking about. lol

    I’m a prepper in as much as I try to prepare for the inevitable: being BUSY. My goal each day is to get at least a little writing done. This is what I do to make that happen…most days.

    “Busy” is the death knell for writers because we can always tell ourselves, “I’m just too busy to write.” And really, that can go for anything in life you want to do. You’re just way too busy. So, to combat that, I am a Day to Day Prepper. Makes sense, right? #lifehacks #writerslife

    DAY TO DAY PREPPER IN 5 EASY STEPS:

    1. MENU PLAN

    This doesn’t need to be and really shouldn’t be complicated. I do a loose menu plan based on what’s on sale, in my freezer and pantry. I just have a general idea of meals that we will have for the coming week. I am by no means an expert in meal planning. I just use it as a means to my goal: get more writing done. Some great resources for meal planning are at www.moneysavingmom.com. HERE

    2. FREEZER AND BATCH COOKING

    Again…don’t get this complicated. I do one freezer meal prep per weekend and make about 3 of the same one. Maybe with a bit of variation. We stick to easy-to-make simple meals around here. Cheaper and easier. For example, when I buy chicken breasts I buy them in bulk and on sale. I dump serving sizes into freezer bags with different marinades. I label them with cooking instructions and freeze. Easy peasy. Find MORE freezer meals at www.moneysavingmom.com and New Leaf Wellness. These are my go-to sites. Oh, and The Virtuous Wife has amazing freezer recipes. Can’t really go wrong here.

    3. EVENING ROUTINE

    My goal for my evenings is to go to bed early! I need to get 7-8 hours of sleep. That’s me. And it does NOT always happen. Not consistent. EVER. Why, you may be asking. I have a two year old.

    But, I still want to remain as sane as possible. Sometimes this means I can clean my kitchen before I go to be, sometimes it doesn’t. I just try to get enough prep done for the next day. I don’t want to scramble in the morning because I have no clean socks and no apple juice for my kid’s sippy cup. But…I still want to get to bed before 3 am. Technically, you could go hard core prepper and lay out every article of clothing, have your kid’s breakfast dishes laid out in a perfectly clean kitchen and make sure you mop the floor before bed, but seriously, WHY? Why would you do that to yourself? Maybe you will have the perfect day and this will happen AND you will get to bed. You are a magician and I applaud you. Please pretty please comment with your secrets!

    But for me…If I try to do everything the night before when I’m dragging after being up half the night before with a sick child, that’s just not doable. I get enough done that I can find stuff and get dressed and get out the door without wanting to scream in frustration. Sure, my kitchen isn’t clean. Whatever. Because, for me, I can be perfectly prepared for the next day, go to bed at 3 am and STILL feel way behind when I wake up. Because I’m exhausted.

    I’m just saying, a little goes a very long way when it comes to prepping for the next day and an evening routine.

    4. MORNING ROUTINE

    Still working on this one. But, coming along nicely. www.moneysavingmom.com and Michael Hyatt are great resources and these guys know their stuff!

    I’m still mostly at phase one. GET OUT OF BED. lol

    It took me two months to get two where I’m mostly regular in getting up before 6am. I get some writing before my two year old is up and ready for the world, happy squeaking with diaper sagging and pacifier plugged firmly in the mouth. He’s a cutie, but I’m biased.

    5. MAKE A LIST

    Make a list. Or several different lists. On your phone, on a piece of paper….of stuff you need to get done. Grocery list, list of characters for your romance, list of freezer meals in your freezer…When you have a list and you get interrupted…(gosh, when does that ever happen) you can be reminded of what you were doing and where you left off. Keep it simple and short though. Again, www.moneysavingmom.com @CrystalPaine. She rocks.

     

    MY CURRENT FREEZER MEALS:

    Here’s an idea of what I’m talking about when it comes to prepping meals. These are an example of what’s in my freezer. Yes. We eat a lot of chicken.

    Enchiladas:

    photo 2

    I just used chicken, corn tortillas, cheese and canned enchilada sauce. Boom! Fancy recipe here: http://www.amandathevirtuouswife.com/2011/05/beef-enchilada-tutorial.html#.VXGVZ89VhBc

    Chicken:

    photo 1

    This is exactly what it looks like. I baked chicken which I previously marinaded in Italian dressing. Then I cut up the cooked chicken. I froze the cooked chicken. BOOM! Dinner anyone?

     

    Please comment and share your prepping or lack thereof…we hear ya.